Before anyone says ‘they’re the worst looking macarons I’ve ever seen’ I should make it clear that these are definitely meant to be macaroons – the simple, coconutty treat; NOT macarons, the perfectly round, brightly coloured, dainty French delicacies.
I have to admit though, even going up against other macaroons these aren’t going to be winning any beauty prizes. What were supposed to be lovely little pointed mounds completely spread as soon as they went into the oven, and left me with the flat, cracked, sort-of-macaroons you see here.
The lovely people at Tibits very kindly offered me the chance to visit the restaurant for a review, but as it’s in London and I’m in Cornwall it seemed a little far to venture for dinner, so I settled for a copy of the cookbook so I could try and knock up some restaurant-quality vegetarian delights at home (in theory…)
The book is split into seasons, which I think is a great approach and definitely helpful in choosing recipes that suit the time of year. Each season has a wide variety of recipes, from soups and salads to main meals and desserts, with some interesting hot and cold drinks thrown in as well.
Pretty much every recipe has a picture of the finished dish, which is a big plus for me – I like to at least have an idea of what I’m aiming for! The instructions are clear and simple to follow, and considering these are all restaurant dishes for the most part they don’t use any tricky techniques or fancy equipment, so they are definitely achievable for the home cook.
The two negatives I found were that some of the recipes don’t state how many portions it will make – in some cases common sense will give you an idea, but in others I could end up making a meal for two or a meal for 10 and I wouldn’t know which until it came out of the oven.
*EDIT – Tibits have kindly pointed out that it states in the intro that recipes serve 4 so this was my mistake!*
The other slight downside is that some of the recipes call for ingredients that aren’t too readily available if you live out in the sticks like I do. I can’t say I’ve seen sambal oelek, dried string beans or blanc battu in my local Tesco recently…
When it came to deciding which dishes to try, I know I should have gone to the Spring section, but it’s been so hideously cold recently that instead I chose two from Winter.
Firstly I made a spinach and feta lasagne (pic of their version above), which I was very impressed with – looking at the ingredients list it sounds like it could be a bit plain, but the flavours are all fresh and complement each other perfectly.
Obviously the second recipe had to be a cake or bake, and that leads me back to the chocolate and coconut macaroons.
Taste and texture wise they turned out exactly as I had hoped – sweet and chewy with bite from the coconut and a richness from the chocolate. I think it’s more likely to be baker error that lead to the slightly dodgy appearance than any fault with the recipe so I may have to try again and pipe them into shape to see if that helps.
Thanks again to Tibits for sending me the book to review – there are lots more recipes I’m looking forward to trying so it’s a very gratefully received gift, and I hope I get to visit the restaurant at some point in the future, to see how the recipes are done professionally.
Chocolate and coconut macaroons (slightly adapted from tibits at home)
- 1 medium egg white
- 80g caster sugar
- 50g dark chocolate
- 80g desiccated coconut
- optional – 25g dark chocolate to drizzle
Melt the dark chocolate in a small bowl and set aside to cool. Whisk the egg white with an electric mixer, gradually adding the sugar as you go until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Fold in the coconut and melted chocolate, then either pipe onto a baking tray or spoon the mixture on into 12-15 small rounds. Bake at 150 degrees for 15-20 minutes, then leave to cool on the baking tray. Melt the remaining chocolate and spoon into a small piping bag, then drizzle over the top of the macaroons and leave to set.